Don’t know about y’all, but this punter is still reeling from Monday’s slate of upsets in the Eurobasket Additional Qualifying Round and Relegation Round games. Seriously, who had Finland over France? Anybody? Who knew Team Ukraine could win on the road, not to mention finally play up to their potential? And after all but penciling in the glorious Bosnia & Herzegovina side as the 16th team in Eurobasket 2009, they instead rolled over to previously underwhelming Belgium – why didn’t somebody tell me?
Even the expected became unexpected in the Hungary-Czech Republic game. Sure, Team Hungary has been nearly unstoppable at home this year, but whoa, did the Magyars play a sweet inside game, fearlessly and repeatedly taking it to Jan Vesely. Quite a revelation for those who never even suspected the jumpshot-worshipping Hungarians had an inside game.
Bruising Monday aside, as they say in the ‘States, you’ve gotta git back on the horse, cowboy.
And so we shall. A look at the some lines and odds for today’s Euroleague AQR and relegation games, as posted by Euroleague/Ball in Europe sponsor SportingBet.com.
Italy (2/11) v Finland (10/3)
How exactly will Team Finland top what point guard Teemu Rannikko called “the sweetest victory of my National Team career,” the excellently-done 77-73 win over Les Bleus on Monday? Wellllllllll, they probably won’t.
However, this team has managed to stay competitive in every game in this tournament thus far and has twice given Team Italy scares, losing by seven points and last by just two points behind a furious fourth-quarter comeback – although both games were in Finland.
Do you believe in the Finns? Even with moderate faith in the tournament underdogs, you have to be considering Finland plus-8 on the spread, and plus-4 for a halftime spread against the typically slow-starting Italians also looks tempting. And an over/under of 155.5? Go over: If there’s one thing Team Finland can do, it’s shoot.
Portugal (5/2) vs. Belgium (2/7)
Said Team Belgium’s Jef Van der Jonckheyd after his team’s amazing 102-79 blowout of Bosnia & Herzegovina: “…you can be sure that Thursday’s game against the eliminated team of Portugal will be no joke.” Maybe so, but that’s only because Portugal has been so disappointing, it’s not funny. With control of their own destiny in their hands, take the low payout and suddenly hot Belgium to win. (And for Team Bosnia & Herzegovina to spend the next year wondering where it all went wrong.)
Ukraine (17/40) v Czech Republic (17/10)
Ukraine is on the rise and playing at home, while the downward-facing Czech Republic would still appear to be the more talented team. If you’re watching this game, keep track of the fouls inside. While Hungary played the Czechs underneath as aggressively as Ukraine did in a 71-64 loss earlier in the tournament, the Magyars sent Vesely to the charity stripe just once; in the Ukraine-Czech Republic game, the big man had 10 free throws.
Against Hungary, the Czech managed one – count it, one – offensive rebound. Against Team Ukraine, they notched 15. The Hungarians were in control underneath, the Ukrainians were not. Hungary won and automatically retain Eurobasket Group A status; Ukraine must win to avoid relegation. The advice: Discover in-game betting for this one. Also take Czech Republic plus-5.
Estonia (7/10) v Hungary (11/10)
A meaningless game, with Estonia already relegated and Hungary having clinched a top-two spot in Group C. Plus, the handicap is a measly minus-2 for Estonia. Don’t even think about it.
SportingBet.com is offering more lines, odds and handicap betting on these games. Click on the logo or banner at right for more information. Best of luck to everybody!